College Enrollment Falls For First Time Since 1996

According to new data from the U.S. Education Department, college enrollment fell in 2011 for the first time since 1996. As Inside Higher Ed explained, “it’s possible that enrollments are leveling off (and shrinking slightly) now because the economy had begun rebounding enough by fall 2011 that some of those who had flocked to higher education during the recession began finding jobs. It’s also possible that college tuition levels — which have continued to rise in recent years, driven in part by cutbacks in state support and other traditional sources of colleges’ revenue — are pricing more students out of higher education.” Four-year public colleges saw an encouraging increase in enrollment of 120,000.